When I started running in high school, the physical benefits were the last thing on my mind.
My parents were forcing me to participate in a sport, and I didn’t know anywhere else where I would be able to see boys running without their shirts every day. Plus my neighbors ran, so it gave me a ride home other than the big yellow bus 🙂 I quickly learned that, while the boys did run with their shirts off, and I was getting physically more fit, running was about so much more than that.
I had a little bit of clarity in my life – I was more focused in school, I slept better at night, and I had a strong peace of mind throughout the day. Most importantly, I also found some of my best friends once I joined the team. Not those casual friends that you talk with at practice and forget about when you leave, but those friends that you can call crying at 2 am, or that you can show up unannounced on a Friday afternoon. These are people who challenge me, inspire me, and help me stick to my goals. My teammates and their families became an extension of my own family- they are the first ones I call when I succeed, and the ones who are there to pick me up when I fall.
When I continued running through college, I experienced the same external benefits from running. After college, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere where I would be able to find those types of friendships. And while I still had my college and high school friends, they have all scattered around the country to live their own lives. I felt stuck being back so close to my hometown, and I was not sure what I was going to do to find new friends, or how to get my life back in order. I tried running on my own, but I could never really get it to stick. Work would get in the way, or I would get sad and stop. Plus, it was difficult to challenge myself to continue to get better, when I had fallen so far behind in my training.
That is where LAUGH came into my life. I realized that many of those same crucial parts of my life didn’t have to disappear – I just needed to go back to the beginning. When I first started to find order and clarity in my life, it was as part of a team. When I joined LAUGH, I realized it was another team, for the new stage of life I was in. I had something to look forward to, blossoming friendships, and a newfound sense of confidence – all were sorely lacking at the time. So now I post the question, what about you? What non-physical benefits have you gained from being part of LAUGH?